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Posts Tagged ‘Reference’

Reference

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 23, 2012

Interestingly enough the reference questions have been about finding the reserves, checking out books, locating a book on the shelves. Yes, it is a new school year, and this group has not yet learned our system. They will soon and be “old hands” at it.

Since they closed a computer lab, we are busier than ever. Our computers are constantly busy in the evenings, with people waiting to use them. Yes, we have a good crop of “flash drives” left behind.

This afternoon, I have helped someone find a book in the “stacks.” No student knows that term! Also, helped several students find some books; directed some to the circulation desk; explained where reserves are; showed how to use the copy machine; filled up the printers with paper; and the evening is still very young.  Believe it or not, I enjoy reference most of the time. It is one of the more fulfilling jobs in the library, in my estimation. Getting instant feedback for your efforts is always gratifying.

So, if you need some background information on Olympic Games or Beowulf, or need an article about II Chronicles, etc., stop by the reference desk or contact us online!

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Reference and the New Library

Posted by Librarian/Information Professional on September 23, 2011

You know some say reference is dead. They should come sit at the reference desk with me. Not that every second is busy, but people still need to discover resources. That is my job when I sit at the desk!

I show them ways to find what they are hunting. Sometimes I show them the library databases and the library catalog. I show them how to search to find “on topic” information. I show them subject searching in the library catalog. For example, if someone needs a book about William Shakespeare, they need to use the name as a subject, otherwise they will get all the books that contain his writings. If we use his name as a subject, then they get what other people had to say about his writing.

How is this related to digital resources? Some of the methods that I use to teach people lead them to digital resources. Databases contain digital resources. Library catalogs do, too.

I think we over-estimate people’s abilities to locate what they need. Most of the time, they do a quick look at Google and then think that is all there is. Google works for its purpose, but not to find specific information for a topic.

Oh yes, Wikipedia! It is a great starting point for many topics. Besides the encyclopedic materials, there are citations that can get people started toward the “right stuff.”

Reference is not dead, but those who want to kill it don’t appreciate what reference is all about! They do not understand or want to understand the “information needs” of the people who come into the library.

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